Friday, January 23, 2015

Life in the Schwabenland

You know you're acclimating into life in Swabia when...

  • your collection of books about your [adopted] Heimat and its people continues to grow.

  • on a winter's day when your house feels uncommonly cold, instead of turning up the heat you don long johns* and ski socks.
    *Long johns are called "lange Unterhose" (long underpants) or "Liebestöter" (love killers) in German.

  • that same evening you light 12 tea candles in the living room in decorative candle holders because, even if they don't actually warm up the room, it seems warmer.

  • you snort in disgust in grocery stores in the U.S. when you see "Black Forest ham" in packages from Oscar Meyer, knowing full well what Schwarzwälder Schinken is and should look and taste like.

  • you grow concerned when your wine cellar is down to five bottles.

  • you have a conversation with your husband one evening about saure Kutteln (tripe, or stomach/intestinal lining of cows or pigs), Blutwurst (blood sausage), Niere (kidneys), and Hirnsuppe (brain soup), which were not unheard of meals when he was a child.

  • you get extra excited about a present that has two useful purposes - like a weekly calendar whose pages become postcards when you tear them off on Monday morning!

  • you hear a joke about how frugal the Swabians are (see below), but you wonder what's so funny about it since being frugal seems to be a very good idea.

  • you understand the prepositions 'nonder, 'nauf, and 'nei.

  • you feel dreadfully guilty on Sunday morning when you realize you forgot to sweep your sidewalk and the road in front of your house the day before (this is not to be done on Sundays).

  • you mean what you say and you do what you say you will do - without fail.

  • although you are pretty frugal and strive not to waste money or food, you are willing to cough up the cash for a good bottle of wine and/or an occasional good meal out. You can do this because you save in other ways.

  • you want a Butterbrezel from the bakery but you buy a regular pretzel instead - saving 20 cents - take it home, slice it open, and put the butter on yourself.

  • two of your language teachers are called Äffle and Pferdle. It's from these guys that you learned what "Mei Uhr isch hee" means.

  • although you find beautiful every part of Germany you have visited, you wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

Swabian jokes:
Winegrower Carl and his wife Caroline emptied the contents of their cess pool into two barrels (to use as fertilizer) and carried them up to the top of their hillside vineyard. Then Carl tripped and the contents of his barrel spilled over the retaining wall. "Oh, oh," Caroline wailed, "you idiot! We spent half the winter shitting for nothing!*

Football/Soccer match in a Swabian village: To decide sides, the referee tossed a coin into the air. 2000 people were injured.

*Your Swabian Neighbors. Larson, Bob. Stuttgart: Schwaben International Verlag, 1981.

1 comment:

  1. Hello! I came across your page because I am looking for Schwabish books. Are those in the photo books you own?? I was wondering if it would be possible to get the names and titles of some of those books? I never saw a book to learn Schwabish!? I am also interested in the cookbook!! My Opi's favorite dish is on the cover. He passed away a year ago and I was very close with him. He grew up in Bavaria and I loved his stories. I would love to see if I can still get some of these books. Thank you! This blog is awesome btw! My email is if you have time to send me the names/details of these books. Thank you again!